The Rise and Fall of Israel
In one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of our times, Barry Lyndon (by director Stanley Kubrick, based on a novel by Thackeray), an Irish lad from a humble background leaves his village in the countryside after being rejected by his first love in favor of an English army captain. Traumatized by the experience and resolved to climb up the rungs of society, Redmond Barry starts his journey through life in 18th century war ravaged Europe, first as a common soldier in the English army but quickly he is disillusioned and finds an opportunity to desert. He then finds himself as a vagrant rogue gambler, traveling through Europe in the company of a fellow Irish impostor, the Chevalier of Balibari. They are invited to courts in Europe, mingle with aristocracy and make a living by cheating in card games. Redmond’s opportunity comes in one of England’s courts in the form of Lady Lyndon, a woman of great wealth, property and beauty, wife of the aging and sickly Sir Charles Lyndon and mother of the child Lord Bullingdon. Through cunning, persistence and seduction he wins her heart and shortly after her husband’s death he marries her, thus assuming the style and title Barry Lyndon. She soon thereafter bears him a child.
Thus Redmond Barry, a villager from the Irish countryside, achieves his goal: he commands great wealth and is accepted in the estates of Counts and Lords, rubbing shoulders with the highest spheres of English society.
However, as you well know, a marriage that is conceived as a tool for social advancement cannot turn into a love story. Barry inevitably mistreats Lady Lyndon and abuses her son, the young Lord Bullingdon. He brazenly fornicates and lusts other women, not even bothering to hide it from his wife. He squanders the family fortune entertaining power brokers and people of influence in order to receive a title from the King of England, something which will guarantee the future of his child as heir to the Lyndon fortune. However, word spreads of his malfeasance and cruelty to young Lord Bullingdon, and one by one, society starts turning a cold shoulder. Lords who had welcomed him in their courts excuse themselves. Invitations to balls and cotillions dry up. Fate also has it that he loses his only son to a horse accident.
I will not spoil it here by recounting the rest of the story to those of you who haven’t seen the movie but there should be enough here to draw the analogy: indeed, the humble Jewish folk of Eastern Europe set their sights on the beautiful lady of Palestine as a way to achieve statehood and be accepted as a nation amongst the nations. Thus they assumed the style and title of the Bible’s Israelites. Green became Ben Gurion, Shertok became Sharet, Jeziernicky became Shamir. The world turned a blind eye to their misdeeds in Palestine on the heels of the Holocaust. However, Israel’s rogue character and maltreatment of Palestine’s sons was soon too much of an embarrassment that all decent folk had to distance themselves from it. Indeed, Barry could be accepted as a member of the higher echelons of English society but his avarice and ambition which propelled him upwards were also the reason for his demise.
The Jews of Eastern Europe who immigrated to Palestine in the 20th century did so with a burning desire to establish a Jewish State – the cardinal sin of Israel which will also bring its inevitable demise. The goal of establishing a Jewish State on a land populated by non-Jews, is what made this marriage one that is of convenience and social advancement rather than love. People who worship the flag cannot love the land and cannot love her sons – instead of loving her and her sons as their own, they view them as a threat and competition that should be removed. And so they did. That also explains the unusually cruel treatment of Palestinians by the new master of the estate.
One who listens to a political debate among Israelis these days would get the impression that they are discussing an insubordinate donkey. Just a generation or two out of the Polish stetl (=Jewish hamlet), the new declared masters of the land discuss the punitive measures on how to beat down their beast: “we should cut their electricity” suggests one. “No, we should limit their food rations” retorts another. “Let’s just kill more of them” demands another. The liberal one suggests that they should improve the hapless animal’s diet and perhaps give it some roaming ground if it behaves well. Such is the discourse in Israeli society – a rogue state with a supremacist attitude that views Lady Palestine’s children as no more than a beast that should be tamed to their wishes and to obey their command.
The ugly character of nationalism and supremacism exhibits itself in the Israeli spirit. Just go to the nearest West Bank settlement and ask the dwellers whether they would accept an offer that Israel withdraw from the West Bank and let them stay with the land that they claim to love. If you know Zionism you already know their answer: it is the flag over the land.
For centuries, pious Jews immigrated to Palestine and settled, mostly in and around the holy places. They came in peace to worship their God and found a hospitable and friendly population of Muslims, Christians and Jews who had coexisted on that land for centuries as a fabric of one society. The nationalist and exclusive movement of Zionism was bound to bring that to an end. A peaceful and harmonious native society was expelled in order to be replaced by one where the percentage of Jewish blood in one’s veins determines his qualification for inclusion into this newly created militant apparatus known as the Jewish State.
I would love to believe that Israel can change its character and start accepting young Lord Bullingdon as the son of the woman they claim to love. However, just as a rogue Irish villager who married for status and wealth cannot bring himself to change his ways, I am sad to conclude that Israel will follow the same inevitable path of Barry Lyndon. It is already shunned by decent people around the world. But soon young Bullingdon, who was beaten and sent packing by Redmond, will no longer be a child and his willingness to forgive will wear thin. And then the revenge of the child will come, for a child never forgets his tormentor and the abuser of his beloved mother.